Geoffrey Zakarian's 8 Tips for Cooking Lobster and Building a Lobster Roll
Learn Geoffrey's tricks for cooking tender, succulent lobster, then feature it in a dressed-up dish ideal for lunch or dinner.
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An Essential Lobster Roll
Geoffrey's impressive lobster roll is a fan-favorite for good reason: It delivers tried-and-true results every time. Get the recipe below, then browse these photos to find out how he prepares the lobster and get his secrets for showcasing it in a crowd-pleasing lobster roll.
Get the Recipe: Lobster Roll
"The first thing you want to do," he advises, "you always get fresh lobster." Having a fresh foundation will go a long way in delivering the best finished product.
Build a Flavorful Cooking Liquid — Maybe
Geoffrey likes to boil his lobster in a bouillon, an aromatic mixture of herbs, lemons and cayenne, but he notes, "You don't need to." Instead, however, he says, "You can just use water."
Keep the Time In Check
To avoid rubbery lobster, be sure to avoid overcooking it. Geoffrey says that 10 to 12 minutes is all it takes for the tail to be done.
Let the Lobster Shine
"Lobster should be just lobster," he explains of his reasoning to keep the focus of the dish on the seafood itself. "If it's anything but lobster, you will taste something else. And because this is so expensive and so delicate, you don't want to do anything that's going to mask the flavor."
Keep the Bun Simple
When it comes to the roll for his lobster roll, Geoffrey opts for a flat-sided hot dog bun. "I like the edges so that they crust," he explains. But he adds that any hot dog bun you can find will get the job done. Be sure to gently toast it in a buttered pan with a bit of salt to achieve top flavor and a golden-brown color.
Skip the Deep Chill
You know how some lobster rolls are served chilled with glops of heavy mayo? Geoffrey doesn't like that approach because "it tastes like cold mayonnaise [and] you don't get the lobster flavor." His alternative is to start with room-temperature lobster that gets warmed in a butter bath.
Add Flavor with a Sauce
"I like it very simple with a sauce on it," Geoffrey says of his lobster roll. He fills the bun with lobster alone, but he tops it with a mixture of Colman's mustard, mayo and Dijon mustard — "one of my favorite sauces in the world," he says of the combination. A quick drizzle of that sauce and a few chives finish the lobster roll.
Round Out the Dish with a Salad
A dish as classic as a lobster roll deserves a side that's every bit as simple, and for Geoffrey that means a green salad with his favorite lettuce: butter or Bibb. When it comes to the dressing, he opts for "the best vinaigrette in the world," he says. White wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and shallots — Geoffrey calls himself "a shallot nut" — are key.
Want More Cooks vs. Cons?
Check out Food Network's Cooks vs. Cons headquarters to get more advice from Geoffrey about elevating everyday meals and see some of his best pro-tested recipes.